Freezenet’s Official Podcast: January 2019: Gone in 60 Milliseconds

In this third episode of the Freezenet official podcast, we take a look at the news and reviews for the month of January.

In this third episode of the Freezenet official podcast, we decided to try something a little different. This month, we’ve enlisted some help for recording and mixing. So, things are going to sound a little different this month.

You can check out our official podcast on Soundcloud or take a listen below:

The Patreon post has also been updated so you can listen to the podcast yourself for free as well.

A transcript of the podcast follows:

Intro

Gone in 60 milliseconds.

Hi, I’m your host, Drew Wilson. Welcome to the third episode of the Freezenet official podcast for January 2019. Here are your top 3 headlines:

The Top 3

Number 1: The battle over article 11 and article 13 continues in Europe with citizens gaining momentum.

Coming in at number 2: German politicians hacked. One man’s house was raided and another turns himself into police.

Finally, at number 3: The Facebook Cambridge Analytica data mining scandal continues.

Top Stories

Our top story this month: The war over article 11 and article 13 continues to rage on in Europe. Article 11, known as the link tax, would compel websites to pay a license fee for the privilege of linking to a news source. At the same time, it explicitly bans publishers from opting out of the link tax. Article 13, known as the censorship machine, would force websites to implement expensive and, as many describe it, ineffective filtering technology to block out any and all copyrighted or potentially copyrighted material.

After the legislation was delayed last year, the European commission is once again moving forward with it. Digital rights organization, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, published information about the legislation and offered resources for Europeans to put a stop to this law.

Meanwhile, some European lawmakers put out a so-called “Q and A” about the legislation. In that information, they simply flat out denied that there was a link tax, licensing fee, censorship, or even filtering at all. That, of course, didn’t sit well with digital rights advocates who picked the Q and A apart, busting the myths perpetuated in the piece.

Shortly after, it was revealed that member states were beginning to rebel against the directive. As such, the legislation has once again been delayed. Many cite citizens standing up to save the Internet as one of the biggest reasons why this development came about in the first place. So far, more than 4.5 million citizens have signed a change.org petition denouncing the laws.

Later on this month, another stunning turn of events. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, the international arm of the Recording Industry Association of America, suddenly dropped support for the directive. They say it is because the directive doesn’t go far enough to crack down on the Internet and that they are demanding immediate changes to get the legislation “back on track”. The organization has long supported the legislation from the very beginning, but now is following the same path as the multinational film corporations to denounce the legislation. This latest development has caused many to say that, at this point, everyone hates the directive.

Meanwhile, Google is test driving a variation of their Google News service to be more compliant with the link tax. In the service, all images have been removed. Additionally, snippets have also been deleted. Going further, even the URLs for specific articles were wiped because the URLs could be considered material that would require licensing. All that’s left is a couple of squares and a few links to the main news sources in the area. Observers say that the screenshots make it look like the page simply failed to load at all. The idea, of course, is to show what Google News would look like should Article 11 pass in the first place.

Coming in at number 2: Germany’s politicians, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have been hacked. A number of journalists and celebrities have also been caught up in that hack as well. While the breach only affected a few hundred people, the affected people certainly made this story noteworthy. The hack sparked a major investigation within Germany.

The breach itself has caused German’s cyber security agency, the BSI, to go on the defence. They said that they received a report from at least one victim who saw suspicious activity on their social media account. While they were investigating, they had no idea almost every politician was already affected by the same hack until after the whole data set was made public. Some blasted the response and it sparked some to accuse the agency of not taking security seriously.

The very next day, however, German police raided a German teenagers house as part of the political hack. The reason that particular person’s house was raided is because he said he knew Orbit, the alleged hacker. That teenager, consequently, faced questioning by police as well.

While some observers were suspecting foreign influence or foreign hackers trying to interfere in Germany’s political system, the alleged hacker, a German citizen, stepped forward and admitted that he was responsible for the hack. Apparently, he was upset with Germany’s politicians and decided to hack as many as he could. He said that it wasn’t actually politically motivated for any one party.

Now moving on to our third big story of the month, the Facebook Cambridge Analytica story continues. If you can believe it, the story started nearly a whole year ago when Cambridge Analytica was under fire for its data mining practices on Facebook. Many journalists reported it as a data breach, but the information in question was actually public. Still, many accused the now bankrupt company of influencing the US election which saw Donald Trump win the presidency as well the UK political process which saw the Brexit side of the debate come out victorious in the referendum.

While offices were raided and several testimonies were given to committee’s in both the US and the UK, the story seemed to be gradually dying out. That is, until recently.

A lawsuit was filed against Facebook by Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine which claims Facebook made a number of privacy violations. The suit accuses Facebook of not doing enough to protect its users.

Those are your top three stories for this month. Of course, a whole lot more is going on here on Freezenet. Here are some of the other stories making news this month.

Other Stories Making News

Privacy whistleblowing is skyrocketing since Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation came into force. According to one statistic, complaints have shot up 165%. Some credit the active solicitation of reporting data breaches and leaks as well as the fact that the privacy laws have such huge teeth in the first place. If anything, some privacy experts can see this as a positive sign that privacy is being respected more now.

The censorship creep phenomenon is continuing in Australia. After expanding censorship laws to include sites who have a “primary effect” of piracy, it seems that no website is safe from being blocked in the country. The continuous expansion of censored websites is continuing to expand just as experts have feared it would. This month, major corporate rights holders were back in court demanding the inclusion of various fan-sub sites. For those who don’t know, fan-subs are basically text files that allow consumers to see translations of foreign movies and TV shows. The files are generally provided for free, but the corporate interests argue that it counts as a derivative work. Therefore, those sites should be classified as piracy sites even though they don’t offer actual copyrighted material.

Later on, those same rights holders found themselves back in court. This time, they are saying that online conversion sites should be added to the censorship lists. They argued that while those sites have many legal purposes, it’s theoretically possible to record a copyrighted song. Therefore, those websites should also be blocked because they have that “primary effect” of piracy as well.

Meanwhile, here in Canada, singer songwriter Bryan Adams made an appearance at a copyright hearing trying to push for more rights to fall back on the artists. At the hearing, Adams argued that copyright term extensions do nothing to help support creators. Instead, extending copyright terms will only serve to enrich intermediaries. Adams also made the case that after 25 years, artists should be permitted to terminate all copyright transfers of content they created. Those proposals will actually go to benefit creators. Major multinational record labels operating in Canada are no doubt displeased that Adams is proposing this in the first place and have tried to ignore these proposals while demanding longer copyright terms.

Data leaks and breaches continue to grace the pages of Freezenet this month. The first breach occurred in China where online train ticket platform 12306 was hacked and had 5 million passengers exposed. Authorities deny the reports, saying that no breach took place, but are also actively looking for suspects responsible for the incident.

Meanwhile, the game Town of Salem suffered its own data breach. That saw 7.6 million customers exposed. The developers point out that while some pieces of information such as user accounts were exposed, credit card and other pieces of financial information weren’t because that was handled by a third party.

Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus has been ordered to pay $1.5 million for a 2014 data breach. The breach itself saw 370,000 payment cards exposed to hackers.

Marriott and Starwood Hotels is now facing multiple class action lawsuits for one of the largest data breaches we’ve ever heard of. According to reports back then, the breach saw 500 million customers exposed. Since then, that number has been downgraded to 383 million customers. One lawsuit was brought forward by 176 plaintiffs from places like the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. Another class action lawsuit was filed by two men in Oregon who are seeking up to $12.5 billion in damages.

Meanwhile, Amazon has suffered from another data leak. This time, 400,000 sellers in India may have had their tax information exposed. One man from India discovered that the records he received from Amazon were not his own. When he asked, Amazon employees were shocked that this happened in the first place. They say that the issue has since been resolved.

OXO International has stepped forward and admitted that they were the victims of a data breach. The New York based manufacturer said that the breach occurred between June 2017 and October 2018. They say that the breach was sophisticated criminal activity. Hacking group Magecart has taken responsibility for the breach. The group has made a number of other breaches in the past and appears to be adding another hack to their list of exploits.

New Zealand based cryptocurrency exchange, Cryptopia, has gone offline. While the reasons weren’t initially clear, it was later revealed that they went offline because their systems were hacked. As a result of the hack, it is feared that anywhere between $2.5 and $3.5 million worth of Ether has been lost as a result.

A security company has released some results of a study in the UK. Working with companies specializing in Internet of Things devices, they found that 58% of UK businesses were unable to detect a data breach. Some suggest that the results point to potential problems on the roll-out of various internet connected devices within that country.

Australia’s anti-encryption laws is once again in the news. The law is known legally as the Assistance and Access bill. That laws passage has caused chaos in the security and technology community operating in the country. One of the many problems is that the bill would compel any and all encryption to contain a backdoor for law enforcement. With the Internet censorship laws, many digital rights organizations have labelled the country as a fallen country. Still, the fight isn’t over yet. Academics and businesses are pushing for amendments to the legislation. Among the things that they are calling for are provisions that require that such backdoor orders have a warrant attached to them. Additionally, they are seeking qualified third parties to oversee such orders in the first place. That’s just a small sample of what they are asking for.

Those are just some of the stories making news here on Freezenet.

Video Game Reviews

Now, turning towards entertainment, here are the video games we’ve reviewed this month:

The first game we tried is Vigilante 8 – 2nd Offence for the Playstation. A slightly more prototype-like variation of the N64 version, but a lot of what made the N64 version great is certainly here. A completely different soundtrack that isn’t quite as good as the N64 version, but the voice samples are certainly a lot better. Graphics are also somewhat downgraded, but the short movies certainly beat the slide shows found in the N64 version after beating the game as different characters. In the end, this game gets an 82%.

Next up is Joust for the Atari 7800. Nicely done physics for a game of its time, but steep learning curve and complex gameplay winds up holding this game back. Still, there is plenty of entertainment to be had here, so this game winds up with a 70%

From there, we tried Ikari Warriors for the Atari 7800. A strong example of what the console is capable of, but with strong competition coming from the NES console, this game begins to disappear into the crowded field of games. Still, it offers some entertainment value with it’s one large single level system. So, it gets a 70% as well.

Finally, we played Choplifter for the Atari 7800. While a lot of changes took place for this game, a lot of changes made this game worse off. Next to no reaction times and a high degree of difficulty left this game with a 44%.

Music Reviews

As for music we’ve listened to this month, we’ve got treated to quite the strong lineup this month. We’ve listened to…

Psy’Aviah – Alone ft Lis van den Akker (Etasonic Vs Andre H Dance Extended DJ Edit)

Kmotiv – Five After One

Togetha Brotha Soundsystem – Progress Dub [Bllodclaat Radio Version]

Gordon Geco – Tahiti Lounge

Evocativ – Echo

TwilightJ – Harmonic Dream (Chill Out Mix)

Jimmy Collapse – The Sun’s Trust

… and finally Caravan Palace – Lone Digger

Picks of the Month

So, that leads us to our pick of the month. This month, our pick of the month belongs to Psy’Aviah – Alone ft Lis van den Akker (Etasonic Vs Andre H Dance Extended DJ Edit). Also, be sure to check out Vigilante 8 – 2nd Offense for the Playstation as well as Kmotiv – Five After One.

Oddities

And in other news…

In Britain, the city council of Bristol have found a new way to fight motorbike gangs and other crime. No, it’s not rehab, stiffer jail sentences, or greater police presence. Instead, they decided to ban grilled cheese sandwiches. Vendors in the area have been selling the cheesy snacks and students have crossed the park to chow down. As a result, the council felt that this encourages deviant behaviour and, therefore, decided to kick the crunchy sandwich to the curve in response. No matter how many ways you look at this story, it makes no sense.

In Bethlehem Pennsylvania, police found themselves in a three hour standoff with a house. The standoff started after a 911 call report of a kid being shot. After the three hour ordeal, the man they were after returned home from a walk. As it turned out, the police were actually in an empty house standoff the entire time. For the police, awkward!

A crime spree took place in the city of Lincoln Park recently. A suspect began this crime spree by stealing a vehicle. He then took the vehicle and drove it to a McDonalds where he ordered a breakfast burrito. After that, he capped off his crime spree by… returning the vehicle to the owner with evidence of said burrito left inside the vehicle. Police are saying that the investigation is ongoing. Weird.

In New Brighton Minnesota, a 60 year old woman has been arrested and faces a number of charges. She is accused speeding, driving under the influence, and driving with expired tabs. Officers say that she failed a field sobriety test and blew a .17, double the legal limit. The story became noteworthy when it was discovered that the woman in question is the city mayor. The mayor made a statement to city council after, apologizing for what she described as “reckless” behaviour and a “significant error in judgment”. One can only imagine just how surreal that moment was when the arresting officer had to report back that he or she just arrested the mayor. Hope it wasn’t the first day on the job. …and you thought municipal politics is boring.

Outro

Before we close things out, we’ve got an announcement. This months website improvement project saw a major expansion in our guides section. A vast majority revolve around the free open source software project known as LibreOffice. These guides are just beginner guides, but cover Writer, Calc, and Impress. Writer is what a lot of users know LibreOffice for, but Calc takes care of spreadsheets and Impress handles slide shows. In all, we’ve actually increased out guides section by 58% this month. We’re by no means done increasing the scope of this section as well. A lot more is coming down the pipe, so stay tuned on that one.

Also, shout out to Nolan for providing recording and mixing services for this month’s podcast. If you notice this months podcast sounding a little different, that would be why. Appreciate the help.

If you’d like to get your hands on some behind the scenes stuff, exclusive content, and early access material, you can check out our Patreon page at Patreon.com/freezenet. Through this, you can help make Freezenet just that much better all the while getting some pretty cool stuff in the process. That’s Patreon.com/freezenet!

…and that’s this months episode for January 2019, I’m Drew Wilson for Freezenet. Be sure to check out our website at freezenet.ca for all the latest in news and reviews. You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at freezenetca. Thank you for listening and see you next month.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.



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